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Medication Mix-ups and Medical Malpractice in Idaho

Idaho medical malpractice attorneyA careless medical mistake can have a devastating impact on a patient's health.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports medication mistakes and harmful drug interactions result in more than 100,000 hospital admissions each year. Another 700,000 are treated in hospital emergency rooms.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration highlights a number of ways drug interactions can impact patients:

  • Drug-to-drug interactions: This can occur after using two or more prescription or over-the-counter medications.
  • Drug-food/beverage interactions: An example would be alcohol use.
  • Drug-condition interactions: Sometimes a drug can negatively impact an existing medical condition, such as pregnancy.

Liability for Medication Mix-ups or Drug Interactions

The U.S. Pharmacies and Drug Stores Industry reports filling more than 4 billion prescriptions last year.

In some cases, a doctor may have committed a serious medical error. In other cases, dispensary mistakes at pharmacies and drug stores can have serious consequences for patients.

“Medication errors are common in general practice and in hospitals. Both errors in the act of writing (prescription errors) and prescribing faults due to erroneous medical decisions can result in harm to patients,” reports the National Institutes of Health in highlighting some of the more common risk factors:

  • Slips, lapses and mistakes are common sources of medication error, as are omissions in the transcription of drugs, poor handwriting and faulty dose selection.
  • Inadequate knowledge or competency commonly leads to error, as does incomplete information about patient medical history.
  • Unsafe work environments, work stress, and inadequate training and communication among medical staff commonly lead to medication errors.

Medication Safety for Iowa Residents

While doctors must suffer all of our Googled medical knowledge and armchair practice of medicine, providing a complete medical history is one area in which every patient can actually reduce the risks. Know what medications you are taking or have taken. Keep a record. Avoiding errors involving medication is one area where the Internet can be a benefit.

The AARP is among the organizations that offer a prescription drug checker. While patients of any age are at risk, older adults face the highest risk of medication mix-ups because of the number of medications they are prescribed and their complex health conditions.

Over-the-counter medications should not be overlooked. Many common over-the-counter pain relievers and antihistamines have known side effects and may conflict with prescription medications. Users of over-the-counter medications should carefully read active ingredients, intended use, warnings and direction labels.

In the event of a medication mix-up, you should speak to an attorney at the Law Firm of Joseph F. Brown, MD, JD, PLLC.

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